Most B-schools now accept GRE test scores in lieu of the GMAT. But what exactly is a good GRE score?
Stacy Blackman, founder of Stacy Blackman Consulting, says it isn’t such a black and white answer. Rather, she says, a good GRE score will vary based on an applicant’s goals and educational background.
GRE SCORE RANGES
The score range for the GRE is 260 to 340 with each section consisting of a 130 to 170 range. But GRE test takers don’t only receive scores, they also receive a percentile rank, which compares your performance to a large sample population of other GRE test takers.
“Because there are so few possible overall scores – only 41 – that you can get on the GRE, answering just one more question correctly could be enough to turn an average score into a great score,” according to Kaplan.
WHY A GOOD GRE SCORE VARIES PER APPLICANT
The importance of your GRE score will largely depend on what background you have as an applicant, experts say.
“For example, for non-traditional and/or liberal arts educated candidates, the standardized tests are even more important,” Blackman writes. “This is because it’s one of the only ways the applicant can demonstrate quant proficiency, especially if they don’t have undergrad quant classes or analytical work experience.”
While there are other ways to demonstrate quant proficiency, such as through essays, work experience, or courses, Blackman says that standardized testing still holds the largest impact.
“An essay alone explaining quant proficiency for some applicants is usually not enough for top MBA programs,” Blackman writes. “This should be reinforced with a solid test score, as that objectively demonstrates one’s ability to handle the curriculum.”
If you’re unsure whether to take the GRE vs. GMAT, experts recommend getting a feel for both.
“The first thing that I advise the students to do is to take a practice test for both,” John Fulmer, the content director for the GMAT and GRE at the Princeton Review, tells Fortune. “What that will do is help students expose some of their strengths and weaknesses.”
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